Compo hopes dashed for Hawke's Bay man


A former Hawke's Bay man has been awarded more than $2.3 million, after suffering severe brain injuries from being "king hit" by a Sydney bouncer - but he may never see a cent of the money.

Steven Dickson, 55, was elbowed in the temple by hulking bouncer Russell Peter Chaffey on a night out with his daughter.

Mr Dickson's head smashed into the concrete on the central Sydney street, and he was rushed to hospital, where part of his skull was removed to relieve the swelling.

He spent three months in hospital and has been unable to work and has suffered blackouts, epileptic seizures and grown distant from family and friends.

Speaking from Sydney, Mr Dickson told how since the 2007 assault, he had found tasks such as conversation, reading and writing difficult: "I don't even like going around to friends' places in case I have a fit."

He had moved to Australia to be closer to his daughter and her two grandchildren and quickly found work - but since the incident, Mr Dickson developed a short temper and finds it hard to be around his grandchildren because he cannot cope with loud noises.

"My daughter lives quite a way from the city, she has two kids to look after. She can't drop everything and run to help me."

Mr Dickson said he was refused help by the New Zealand and New South Wales governments for more than a year, as the incident had occurred overseas.

His lawyer Joshua Dale said that because Mr Dickson was a New Zealand citizen in Australia, he had "fallen through the cracks of a lot of social security laws".

Mr Dickson was eventually awarded an invalid's benefit from the Government, and $62,000 from a New South Wales Government fund supporting victims of crime. He sued Chaffey for assault and battery and launched proceedings against the Reddawn bar that employed him.

On the night of the incident, Mr Dickson leaned against a car while hailing a taxi. Chaffey had run across six lanes of traffic and demanded money for damages to his car. When Mr Dickson refused, he struck him in the temple with his elbow.

A judge found that Reddawn was not liable, but awarded damages of $2.3 million against Chaffey in October last year.

Mr Dickson wants to return to New Zealand, where he worked as a fisherman for 30 years in Hawke's Bay, and is still hopeful he can gain some of the money owed to him.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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